Numerous tax breaks are available to business owners in the Netherlands, but everyone still needs to pay tax. For example, anyone in business has to file annual tax returns – either income tax [Dutch: inkomstenbelasting] or corporation tax [Dutch: vennootschapsbelasting].
Turnover tax [Dutch: omzetbelasting] returns can be filed either monthly, quarterly or annually. This relates to the value added tax (VAT) [Dutch: belasting over de toegevoegde waarde (BTW)] charged on most goods and services. Even foreign businesses without registered offices in the Netherlands may be liable for turnover tax if they supply goods or provide services in the Netherlands.
Your business will be automatically registered with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration [Dutch: Belastingdienst] when you list it in the Business Register [Dutch: Handelsregister] at the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (Kamer van Koophandel, KvK). It's a mandatory requirement to register your company if it has any form of permanent establishment in the Netherlands.
If you represent a foreign company that is not listed in the Business Register, i.e. no permanent establishment, and you perform services on its behalf in the Netherlands, you'll have to register with the Belastingdienst yourself. You'll find 'Foreign Business Aid' registration forms on the Belastingdienst website.
In the section Subsidies and (tax) facilities you can find information about allowances, exemptions from premium payments or premium discounts, tax rebates and deductible items.
Most common taxes
Below we've listed the most common taxes you'll have to deal with in the Netherlands:
Turnover Tax / Value Added Tax (VAT)
Value added tax (VAT) [Dutch: BTW] is a form of turnover tax [Dutch: omzetbelasting] that you add to most – but not all – goods and services your business sells in the Netherlands (0%, 6% or 21%). You can usually reclaim the VAT that your business pays on the goods and services it purchases.
If your business is established outside the Netherlands, but trades in the Netherlands, you'll still have to deal with Dutch BTW (VAT) regulations. The rules that apply to businesses outside the Netherlands differ from the rules applicable to businesses in the Netherlands.
If the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration [Dutch: Belastingdienst] considers you to be in business, you'll have to pay income tax [Dutch: inkomstenbelasting] on your business' profits. The Belastingdienst applies various criteria to determine your exact status, e.g. anticipated profitability, business practices, autonomy, personal risk, etc.
If you own a private or public limited company [Dutch: besloten vennootschap (BV) / naamloze vennootschap (NV)], you'll have to file corporation tax returns on behalf of your company [Dutch: vennootschapsbelasting]. Foundations, charities and associations only have to file corporation tax returns in specific situations. You may be exempt depending on your profit levels.
As a private or public limited company [Dutch: besloten vennootschap (BV) / naamloze vennootschap (NV)], you may decide to distribute profits to your shareholders. This usually takes the form of a dividend. If so, you'll also have to pay dividend tax [Dutch: dividendbelasting].
If you already own a foreign business and are planning to open a branch in the Netherlands, get in touch with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA). The NFIA has brochures about the Dutch tax system and even has offices located around the world where you can talk to an adviser in person.